Histamine Intolerance: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, and Treatment
Many people with persistent gastrointestinal or skin issues are given a pill or cream by their doctor and are sent on their way. They never are given a diagnostic test that can indicate the high levels of histamine in the blood or urine that can point to this condition.
Why Do People Get Histamine Intolerance?
Histamine intolerance is a condition in which the body produces too much histamine or cannot properly break down histamine. Histamine is a chemical that is naturally produced by the body and is involved in various processes such as digestion, immune response, and neurotransmission. When the body produces too much histamine, or when it cannot break down histamine properly, it can lead to a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe.
Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
The symptoms of histamine intolerance can vary widely, and many people may not even be aware that they are suffering from this condition. These symptoms can occur shortly after consuming histamine-rich foods, such as aged cheeses, fermented foods, and alcoholic beverages, or they can be triggered by other factors such as stress, medications, or environmental allergens. Some of the common symptoms of histamine intolerance include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Skin rashes and itching
- Digestive issues such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating
- Anxiety and depression
- Fatigue and weakness
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Low blood pressure
- Heart palpitations
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine if histamine intolerance or DAO deficiency may be the underlying cause.
Diagnosing Histamine Intolerance
Diagnosing histamine intolerance can be challenging because there is no single specific test for it. However, a healthcare provider may diagnose histamine intolerance based on a combination of symptoms and a thorough medical history combined with a consistently high histamine level in the blood or urine. A healthcare provider may also recommend a low-histamine diet or a food diary to help identify trigger foods. In addition to modifying your diet, there are several supplements that can help to increase DAO levels and reduce histamine intolerance symptoms.
Supplements and Herbs for Histamine Intolerance
There are several herbal supplements that may help reduce the symptoms of histamine intolerance. These include quercetin, stinging nettle, and butterbur. Quercetin is a plant flavonoid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Stinging nettle is a plant that has been used for centuries to treat allergies and inflammation. Butterbur is a plant that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects. Some of the most commonly used supplements for DAO deficiency include vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, and zinc.
DAO for Histamine Intolerance
Low DAO levels are often associated with histamine intolerance. DAO deficiency can occur due to various factors, including genetics, diet, and lifestyle. For example, some people may have a genetic predisposition to low DAO levels, while others may experience DAO deficiency due to poor dietary habits, such as consuming foods that are high in histamine.
Fortunately, there are several ways to address histamine intolerance and low DAO levels. One of the most effective ways to manage histamine intolerance is by reducing your intake of histamine-rich foods. Some of the foods that are high in histamine include fermented foods, aged cheeses, cured meats, and alcohol.
Dietary Changes for Histamine Intolerance
In addition to herbal supplements, dietary changes may also help reduce the symptoms of histamine intolerance. The Plant Paradox Diet, developed by Dr. Steven Gundry, is a dietary approach that emphasizes the consumption of foods that are low in lectins, which are proteins found in many foods that can cause inflammation and other health problems.
The Plant Paradox Diet focuses on consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, while avoiding or limiting certain foods that are high in lectins such as grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables, and dairy products. The diet also emphasizes the consumption of fermented foods that are low in histamine, such as sauerkraut and kimchi.
Histamine intolerance is a condition that can cause a variety of symptoms and can be challenging to diagnose. Few healthcare providers are aware of it, so you often have to educate them about it. Meanwhile, dietary and herbal interventions such as the Plant Paradox Diet and supplements such as quercetin, stinging nettle, and butterbur, make it possible to manage the symptoms of histamine intolerance and improve overall health and well-being.